Baba Seika makes delicious botanical confectionaries in Kagoshima, and provides assistance in making your tour of World Heritage Yakushima Island a great experience
Yakushima Island of Kagoshima Prefecture is blessed with various agricultural products in a temperate climate. Here, let us bring attention to a long-established confectionery manufacturer that supports the area through making sweets with local specialties such as vegetables and fruits.
Established in 1910, “Baba Seika (confectionery company)” has been making regionally-oriented confectionery
Kagoshima, an agricultural prefecture, is known for its rich agricultural products that are the result of a temperate climate. Among them, citrus fruits and sweet potatoes which are specialties of Yakushima Island are famous nationwide.
Under the concept of “agricultural ideas,” Yakushima Island’s “Baba Seika” of Kagoshima Prefecture continues to make the same confectionaries since their establishment in 1910 using the local agricultural products that shape the regional taste.
Products that use local specialties such as sweet potatoes and Ponkan mandarins have received many awards, so they are representative must-buys as souvenirs when you visit Kagoshima.
Their activity that started by creating confectionaries has now expanded to various areas such as a sightseeing information center, restaurants, and the display and sales of products using Yakushima Island cedar, and they are still evolving.
Use of local ingredients: special vegetables are transformed into traditional confectionaries!
“Kintsuba” is said to have been created in Osaka in the middle of the Edo period. Today, rectangular shaped Kintsuba using agar and sweet bean jam with whole beans is mainstream.
In 1973, Baba Seika made this Kintsuba using local sweet potatoes. In Tanegashima Island, an area which is rich in nature and an attraction like the space center and marine sports, and Ibusuki City where is famous for the sand baths and Mt. Kaimondake, four kinds of sweet potatoes that are strictly planned and produced are used as the main ingredients for each and every Kintsuba. They are carefully made by the hands of skilled craftsmen.
Among them, the “Ichikichi Murasakiimo” is a kind of purple sweet potato that has its roots in Tanegashima Island, where it is said that sweet potatoes were first introduced to Japan. “Ichikichi Murasakiimo” is an original kind that was developed and trademarked by Baba Seika.
It has a sugar content of over 9 Brix, and it is said to be a dream variety that can be tasted only in Tanegashima Island.
Kintsuba, a confectionary that makes good use of the deliciousness of the ingredients has received many honors such as the Honorary President Award at the National Confectionery Exposition, and also has been approved as an excellent confectionary presented to the Imperial royal family.
Further, “Karukan,” a type of steamed cake which has been passed down from old times in the area is also a popular item along with the Kintsuba. Baba Seika’s karukan is the only karukan approved to add the name “Shimazu” to its name by the lord Shimazu clan who governed Satsuma during the Kamakura to Edo period. Included in the Karukan are the highest grade domestic ingredients such as karukan-ko (a type of rice flour), sugar, and yamaimo (Japanese yam). Along with an original type that uses three kinds of sweet potatoes, it has a good reputation as a famous confectionary in the Kyushu area. They also have a popular Satsuma-imo sweet cake, their newest sweet potato confectionary that contains plenty of “Anno-imo (orange fleshed yam)” grown only in the Anno district of Tanegashima Island. It is also available at Kagoshima Ichiba (market).http://store.shopping.yahoo.co.jp/baba/
Beyond creating famous confectionaries: offering information on the attractions of World Heritage Yakushima Island
●A stopping point for travel information and support: Yakushima Kanko (travel information) Center
On Yakushima Island, where nature is left unspoilt, there are various ways to have fun such as mountain climbing, marine sports like diving and snorkeling, and ecology tours seeing the island’s symbol, the Jomon-sugi cedar, Shiratani Unsuikyo Valley, etc. At “Yakushima Kanko Center,” managed by Baba Seika, they have various services available, such as planning out your activities so that you can enjoy efficiently, arrange for accommodation, and rent out mountaineering and outdoor equipment. They can also help you out when using public services such as hiking registration, transportation guide, using the bus or a rental car, and they provide information on the weather and ocean phenomena. http://www.yksm.com/
There are also many places of interest such as the “Yakushima Ichiba (market),” which is located within the Yakushima Kanko Center, and is the largest market for local specialties, and an area where Yakusugi cedar products are displayed and sold. Shochu (liquor made from sweet potatoes, etc.) produced in Yakushima Island, as well as fresh food such as farm and marine products are available. You will also find a good selection of popular Baba Seika products such as jam-filled wafers that use Ponkan mandarins, which are local specialties.http://store.shopping.yahoo.co.jp/babayaku/
Upon hearing the name Yakushima Island, Yakusugi cedar which is called “Jomonsugi cedar,” a symbolic existence of the island comes to the minds of many people. On the second floor of the Yakushima Kanko Center is a section where products made from Yakusugi cedar are displayed and sold. From key chains and chopsticks that make great souvenirs to artifacts such as family Buddhist altars and tables, they have a wide variety.
●Fully enjoy the local taste at restaurants
Yakushima Island has nurtured its unique food culture from the natural environment of surrounding mountains and ocean. You can enjoy this blessing of nature at "Restaurant＆Caffe Yakushima Island" on the second floor of the Yakushima Kanko Center. Their ramen has the island’s specialty, deep-fried flying fish as the topping. The ramen was featured on a popular TV show and became popular nationwide. Further, Gozenryori cuisine that uses various ingredients of the mountain and ocean, and also gibier cuisine that uses the meat of locally caught deer are tastes that are unique to Yakushima Island.
Perhaps the deep connection between Kagoshima City and Naples, Italy is not well known. Since Kinko-wan Bay/Gulf of Naples and Sakura-jima Island/Mt. Vesuvius each have very similar looking sceneries, the two cities were established as sister cities in 1960. In Kagoshima, they have a street named “Naples Avenue” and also hold Naples themed events. After 58 years, their deep connection is still the same. At “Budonoki,” a restaurant on the second floor of Kagoshima Chuo Station, you can experience the culture of the two sister cities through their food. They serve traditional Neapolitan cuisine made from ingredients grown in the rich natural features of Kagoshima, and also original desserts made with Baba Seika’s confectionaries such as Kintsuba and Karukan. How about trying their popular dessert “Shirokuma” after your meal at Budonoki?http://www.t-budounoki.com/
*The above information was last updated December 16, 2018. For further details, please contact the facilities directly.
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